Humans have consumed honey for centuries. Bees have been making it for even longer. The insect first started making honey around million years ago, long before humans even existed on planet Earth. If you do still eat honey, can you call yourself a vegan? Not out of place on the breakfast table, honey is a thick, golden liquid. We spread it on toast, add it to cereal, and pour it on pancakes. But what actually is it? The honeybee returns to the hive with the nectar in its crop, which it passes to another bee via regurgitation.
By definition, vegans do not eat animals or use animal products, typically for ethical or environmental reasons. Bees depend on energy-rich honey as their primary food source. Bees suck nectar from flowering plants and carry it back to their hives for processing into honey. Along with butterflies and hummingbirds, bees are natural pollinators, and many key fruit and vegetable crops such as apples, Brussels sprouts, and pumpkin depend on their pollen to reproduce. Back at the hive, bees work to thicken the collected nectar into honey before sealing it inside honeycombs as future food. Bees do not hibernate, so they naturally produce an excess of honey to survive a brutally-cold winter. This is where beekeepers come into the picture—they harvest the excess honey from the hives so that it can be packaged for consumer use. Beekeeping can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where it was valued for its culinary and medicinal applications. Modern beekeepers tend to bees in apiaries, a site where beehives are kept. To collect the honey, beekeepers extract it from the honeycombs found inside the hives.
Is plant-based the same as vegetarian? Or vegan? How much meat can you eat? And what about desserts? Among that litany of questions is one that has been dividing plant-based eaters since long before the diet was trending: honey or no honey? So which side is right? Copping was diagnosed with PCOS and insulin resistance three years ago, which is when she switched to a plant-based diet. For her, that means meat, eggs, and dairy are off limits, but honey gets the green light. However, because of her insulin resistance, she tries to keep her sugar intake to a minimum. Drutz has also been following a plant-based lifestyle for about three years, but her motivation for avoiding animal products is slightly different.